Aug 18, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 175: Gambit and the X-Ternals #2, April 1995


The saga of Gambit's ragtag group of rebels continues as they find themselves transported across the galaxy in search of the M'Kraan crystal. There are some really great moments in this comic. Gambit's decision to just run when faced with the might of the Shi'Ar Imperial Guard is excellent. Jubilee's complete and utter disbelief that she's actually somehow gotten mixed up in a cosmic jewel theft caper is very nicely played. I'm still not sure how the possession of this crystal Nexus of all Realities will help the cause of Magneto against Apocalypse, but I'm sure that it will play out, if not logically, then at least entertainingly.

I was going to mention Tony Daniel's art in this post. I find that, since I'm a literary scholar, I all too often gloss over the artwork when I'm talking about comics, and it's a habit I'm consciously trying to break. I also enjoyed Daniel's artwork on the "Batman R.I.P." storyline, so I figured I'd have something nice to say about it.

However.

This is Daniel early in his career, I think. His art is kinetic and vibrant. I'll give it that. But the construction of human, and alien, bodies in this comic has crossed over completely into the ridiculous. There's a panel on page 4 in which the cowardly Rictor has his hands up in surrender, and there's more muscles on his body than the human frame is designed to handle. (I'd post a scan of this panel, but my desktop computer died two days ago, and I still haven't linked my laptop up to the scanner. It's a pretty terrible picture, anyway.. Just take my word for it.)

This actually, despite the bad art, lets me consider my 40 year project from another vantage point. I'll be able to look at works like this, or like issue #4 of Spitfire and the Troubleshooters (which features very early Todd McFarlane art) and make observations about the evolution of particular artists. I'm pretty good at doing this with writers, but artists are a little outside of my wheelhouse. I've kicked around the notion of taking an art history class or two, just to give myself a basis with which to talk about visual art, but until that happens, an amateur consideration of these developing styles will have to do.

Much as I dislike the title of this series, I like the team itself. I would definitely read more about them, though I think in the regular Marvel U, especially the current one, it's a highly unlikely team-up. (Or is there an "Age of Apocalypse" Secret Wars series? I think there is!) See you tomorrow.

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